This is a message for Christians. I hope others may gain something from it, but that resides with their heart and choice, as in truth all things do. So let us begin.
When you love someone, you forgive and forgive and forgive.
You give the focus of your concern every opportunity to turn their lives around and repent, even if/when they disappoint, betray, or rebel against you. And you forgive, again and again and again. Seventy times seven is just the starting point. It may reach seventy times seventy times seven… and still, you forgive.
That doesn't mean you do not protect yourself and others from violence or injustice, but when all's said and done, you forgive. With this you pray, take guidance from the Holy Spirit, and obey the law and its cultural authorities. Those under your personal authority you lead with a loving hand. Mature, independent souls you let choose their own paths.
Through it all, you never give way to fiery anger or hatred. You defend yourself in and with love. You offer positive guidance and solutions, never condemnation. You never sever ties, withdraw your love, or usurp God's role in judgment. You forgive, again and again and again.
Judgment should come only under authoritative law, as determined by the legitimate branches of government and society, or upon death, as established by God. Everything else you should resolve with prayer, compassion, positive action, and forgiveness. You protect yourself and loved ones from unjust actions, you take or make safeguards from potential threats, but you do it all in a positive spirit of faith and love.
That is the heart of love, which God provides us. That is the mantle we take on when we accept Christ as our savior.
We love – first, last, and always.
Love is how we set an example, how we shine our light before men, how we share our faith, how we spread the gospel. Love is why Christ took human form. Love is why He died on the cross and rose again. Love is the reason for and purpose of creation. Love stands behind it all.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son so that whoever believes in Him would not perish, but have everlasting life. Christ did not come to condemn the world, but to save the world – out of love. Through love. Because of love.
And we, as His followers, have illustrative roles to play in that. I'll go more into this in my next blog.